06 Oct WATERSMART GRANT HOPING TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR QCBID
The federal WaterSMART grants that served the plans and projects of the Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District may once again have a big impact on the QCBID’s plans for 2021.
According to Craig Gyselinck, environmental assistant manager for QCBID, in 2019, a Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Grant was awarded in the amount of $300,000, to help pay for more than a third of the costs associated with lining 6,810 of the W61F canal near Royal City.
The Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District’s main irrigation system has one main, 90-mile-long canal called the West Canal, and W61F is one of the laterals off the main canal, located 61 miles downstream from the beginning of the West Canal.
The work helped conserve 729 acre-feet of water and 544,704 kWh of power annually,
Gyselinck said. The total cost reached $787,097. For the fiscal year 2021, the work on W61F will
continue, and so will the need for federal grants like WaterSMART. The deadline to apply is in mid-September, and if approved, the grant will help pay for the lining of 6,500 additional feet of the canal, with the total cost reaching $785,000.
Lining canals improves flow management and has many benefits including water conservation, more reliable water delivery, reduction in the use of aquatic weed chemicals and their spill to natural water bodies and other savings, Gyselinck added.
The QCBID’s water conservation projects allow existing acreage to be served, while remaining water budget-neutral to the Columbia River, Gyselinck said. It is also available to stay in the river to support fish and wildlife efforts. “The WaterSMART program has been very beneficial toward helping us reach our conservation goals and we look forward to applying for this grant each year,” he said. “WaterSMART grants allow us to improve the reliability of our canals while conserving water and power. It’s a win for the environment but also a win for our landowners.”
In the five years since QCBID started applying for WaterSMART projects, the district has been
awarded $2.6 million in grants.
“That is a significant amount of funding from Reclamation to improve critical infrastructure and conserve our most vital resources, water and power,” Gyselinck said. “We have done a lot of great work, but there is still much to be done.”